Last issue I talked about joint supplements and how beneficial they can be. Well, if some of you older guys haven’t already noticed or if you younger guys don’t believe the older guys when they tell you, your joints deteriorate over time. This means as you get older you will no doubt begin to experience joint pain or problems. It also means that your risk for joint injuries increases. We must try to reverse or at least slow down this increasing risk for joint issues anyway we can; and I think we can agree that jiu-jitsu isn’t exactly the easiest thing on the joints. Therefore, joint supplements such as glucosamine and chondriotin should become a key staple in your supplement regimen. Glucosamine and chondroitin are two vital ingredients for joint regeneration. They act to not only help create building blocks necessary for joint tissue regeneration, but also act to help prevent and stop cartilage breakdown. If you remember from the last issue, our cartilage has a turnover rate. This means that kind of like our muscles, there are times of breakdown and times of regeneration. Although cartilage does this to a significantly smaller rate than muscle, the ratio between breakdown and regeneration is critical. Simply put, if breakdown outpaces regeneration we experience joint deterioration. This is exactly what happens with aging. So the goal with aging is to try and prevent or slow this process down as much as possible; and glucosamine and chondroitin are two very helpful components. Remember, you should look for at least 1500mg of glucosamine and around 1200-1500mg of chondroitin. As I mentioned last issue, consistency is a huge part of joint supplements, since your joints have very little blood flow, we must ensure we have a consistent and steady delivery of these ingredients. It is critical that we take our joint supplements EVERY DAY and for over a month to see the benefits.
Our protein and amino acid intake actually may become more critical as we age. One of the biggest problems experienced as men age is a gradual and natural loss of muscle mass. While this is likely contributed to decreased androgenic hormones; we can help prevent this loss and maintain our muscle mass. If we remember from the protein or amino acid articles, muscle wasting occurs as a result of a negative nitrogen balance leading to protein degradation. A negative nitrogen balance leads to decreases in muscle mass, incomplete recovery, muscle wasting, training intolerance, and major decreases in performance; while a positive nitrogen balance stimulates protein synthesis and all of its aforementioned benefits. With aging we see an increase in this protein degradation. This is a main reason why as we age, it tends to take longer to recover from sessions, especially very intense training sessions. With this increased protein breakdown we see with aging, we must be sure we do anything we can to offset it. This is why our protein and amino acid intake becomes increasingly more important as we age. If we also remember, one of the ways to prevent protein degradation and promote protein synthesis (muscle building) is by ensuring adequate and abundant protein/amino acid availability. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is by adding protein or amino acid supplements into your daily routine. If you already do incorporate these great, but you may want to increase your daily servings. I have talked about how important these can be pre and post workout, and while that remains true, with aging keeping blood amino acid levels high throughout the day becomes increasingly more important. So I would suggest adding some extra servings throughout the day, especially on non training days. The higher we can keep our blood amino acid levels at all times throughout the day, the harder it becomes for your body to go into a state of protein breakdown and muscle wasting.
While these supplements can be extremely beneficial, nothing…let me repeat…NOTHING replaces a good diet. This is the most commonly overlooked aspect in just about all people, but it becomes more prevalent and increasingly more important with age. Things start to breakdown and slow down with age. By eating a good diet with very high quality nutrient dense foods, we can ensure our bodies are running efficiently and smoothly. This greatly reduces the amount of stress and inflammation inside the body. By ensuring a diet rich in micro and phytonutrients we can essentially slow down the aging process and/or make the effects less noticeable.